When something reaches age seventy-five, we equate that number with old. A car is considered an antique at the twenty-five year mark. Corningware came out with the blue, cornflower pattern in 1958. That would be considered ‘retro’. (I guess I’m considered retro too-1956 *tic*) In the 60’s, troll dolls became the craze. (I owned several of the little guys with wild, bright hair. I even had a plastic carrying case for them that opened up to look like a tiny cave house.) Vintage would be the correct term for things produced from the 60’s through the 70’s. The point is, the longer something has been around, the more frail and breakable we consider it to be. An old thing can’t stand up to very rough treatment. It isn’t as dependable. We feel that with regular use, the item will eventually give way and break. It will go to a shelf or drawer to collect dust and fond memories.
I come in contact almost every day with something that has been sitting in the same spot for seventy-five years. That ‘thing’ is not showing any sign of wear. It’s not dusty nor decrepit. It has no worn spots and no rust or decay. The opposite seems to be occurring. This ‘thing’ I spend so much time with is showing signs of youth. It digs its heels into the soil and remains fixed with ‘bulldog tenacity’. The darker its surroundings become, the brighter it shines. It provides an atmosphere where youth flourishes. People that come into contact with this ‘thing’ gain strength and momentum.
Have you figured out that I’m writing about my place of employment? Olivet Nazarene University. Seventy-five years ago Herald of Holiness magazine published an article entitled, ‘Olivet College Purchases Property’. The article used encouraging words and phrases to describe the new campus: “good repair”, “well suited for our purposes”, “splendid chapel”, “gymnasium, a credit to any college or university”, “increased enrollment”, “strengthening its faculty”, “credit to our church”, “best equipped campus in our movement” and “splendid college property”. As I recently read this article, it occurred to me that the words used to describe our new campus seventy-five years ago were much more than encouraging–they were prophetic. Truly, those words could just as easily be describing today’s institution.
During seventy-five years in the Kankakee-land area, Olivet Nazarene University has not grown weary in producing ‘Education With a Christian Purpose’. Indeed, it becomes more vigorous and energetic with time. It casts a youthful glow that shines through the students and staff. Throughout this school year, we at Olivet will enjoy and celebrate seventy-five years on the Bourbonnais campus. We are seventy-five years young.